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Database Systems is a blog about Databases, Oracle, Salesforce and Data IntegrationKubilay Tsil Kara
Updated: 11 hours 5 min ago

Why Data Virtualization Is so Vital

Tue, 2015-11-24 16:35
In today’s day and age, it probably seems like every week you hear about a new form of software you absolutely have to have. However, as you’re about to find out, data virtualization is actually worth the hype.
The Old Ways of Doing Things
Traditionally, data management has been a cumbersome process, to say the least. Usually, it means data replication, data management or using intermediary connectors and servers to pull off point-to-point integration. Of course, in some situations, it’s a combination of the three.

Like we just said, though, these methods were never really ideal. Instead, they were just the only options given the complete lack of alternatives available. That’s the main reason you’re seeing these methods less and less. The moment something better came along, companies jumped all over them. However, their diminishing utility can also be traced to three main factors. These would be:
  • ·      High costs related to data movement
  • ·      The astronomical growth in data (also referred to as Big  Data)
  • ·      Customers that expect real-time information
These three elements are probably fairly self-explanatory, but that last one is especially interesting to elaborate on. Customers these days really don’t understand why they can’t get all the information they want exactly when they want it. How could they possibly make sense of that when they can go online and get their hands on practically any data they could ever want thanks to the likes of Google? If you’re trying to explain to them that your company can’t do this, they’re most likely going to have a hard time believing you. Worse, they may believe you, but assume that this is a problem relative to your company and that some competitor won’t have this issue.
Introducing Data Virtualization
It was only a matter of time before this problem was eventually addressed. Obviously, when so many companies are struggling with this kind of challenge, there’s quite the incentive for another one to solve it.

That’s where data virtualization comes into play. Companies that are struggling with having critical information spread out across their entire enterprise in all kinds of formats and locations never have to worry about the hardships of having to get their hands on it. Instead, they can use virtualization platforms to search out what they need.
Flexible Searches for Better Results
It wouldn’t make much sense for this type of software to not have a certain amount of agility built in. After all, that’s sort of its main selling point. The whole reason companies invest in it is because it doesn’t get held back by issues with layout or formatting. Whatever you need, it can find.

Still, for best results, many now offer a single interface that can be used to separate and extract aggregates of data in all kinds of ways. The end result is a flexible search which can be leverage toward all kinds of ends. It’s no longer about being able to find any type of information you need, but finding it in the most efficient and productive way possible.
Keep Your Mainframe
One misconception that some companies have about data virtualization is that it will need certain adjustments to be made to your mainframe before it can truly be effective. This makes sense because, for many platforms, this is definitely the case. These are earlier versions, though, and some that just aren’t of the highest quality.

With really good versions, though, you can basically transform your company’s mainframe into a virtualization platform. Such an approach isn’t just cost-effective. It also makes sure you aren’t wasting resources, including time, addressing the shortcomings of your current mainframe, something no company wants to do.

Don’t get turned off from taking a virtualization approach to your cache of data because you’re imagining a long list of chores that will be necessary for transforming your mainframe. Instead, just be sure you invest in a high-end version that will actually transform your current version into something much better.
A Better Approach to Your Current Mainframe
Let’s look at some further benefits that come from taking this approach. First, if the program you choose comes with the use of a high-performance server, you’ll immediately eliminate the redundancy of integrating from point-to-point. This will definitely give you better performance in terms of manageability. Plus, if you ever want to scale up, this will make it much easier to do so.

Proper data migration is key to a good virtualization process. If it is done right the end user wont have to worry out corrupted data and communication between machines will be crystal clear.If you divert the data mapping you need to do at processing-intensive level and transformation processes away from the General Purpose Processor of your mainframe to the zIIP specialty engine, you’ll get to dramatically reduce your MIPS capacity usage and, therefore, also reduce your company’s TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

Lastly, maybe you’d like to exploit of every last piece of value you derive from your mainframe data. If so, good virtualization software will not only make this possible, but do so in a way that will let you dramatically turn all of your non-relational mainframe data virtualization into relational formats that any business analytics or intelligence application can use.
Key Features to Look for in Your Virtualization Platform
If you’re now sold on the idea of investing in a virtualization platform, the next step is getting smart about what to look for. As you can imagine, you won’t have trouble finding a program to buy, but you want to make sure it’s actually going to be worth every penny.

The first would be, simply, the amount of data providers available. You want to be able to address everything from big data to machine data to syslogs, distributed and mainframe. Obviously, this will depend a lot on your current needs, but think about the future too.

Then, there’s the same to think about in terms of data consumers. We’re talking about the cloud, analytics, business intelligence and, of course, the web. Making sure you will be able to stay current for some time is very important. Technology changes quickly and the better your virtualization process is the longer you’ll have before having to upgrade. Look closely at the migration process, and whether or not the provider can utilize your IT team to increase work flow. This will help you company get back on track more quickly and with better results.

Finally, don’t forget to look at costs, especially where scalability is concerned. If you have plans of getting bigger in the future, you don’t want it to take a burdensome investment to do so. As you can see, virtualization platforms definitely live up to the hype.You just have to be sure you spend your money on the right kind.
Mike Miranda writes about enterprise software and covers products offered by software companies like Rocket software about topics such as Terminal emulation,  Enterprise Mobility and more.
Categories: DBA Blogs

How Terminal Emulation Assists Easy Data Management

Wed, 2015-11-18 21:25
Just about every company will need terminal emulation at some point. Yours may not need it now, but as time goes on, the day will come when you need information that can only be accessed with an emulator. This software allows a computer to basically take on the functionality of an older version. Doing so makes it possible for the user to access data that would otherwise be impossible to find. If you’re not sold on the benefits of using this type of software, consider the following ways that it assists with making data management easier.
Obtain Data from Outdated Systems
This is the most obvious way a terminal emulator helps with data management. Right now, you could have all kinds of data out of reach because it was created with software you no longer used or stored on a platform that differs from the current one on your system.

Without an emulator, you’re basically without options. You simply have to find a workaround. The best solution would involve using a machine with the old operating system installed. This isn’t just extremely inconvenient though; it also isn’t very cost-effective and is sure to become a bottleneck sooner or later.

With terminal emulation, no data ever has to be out of reach. Whether its information from 10 years ago or 20, you can quickly retrieve whatever it is you need.
Access Multiple Terminals at Once
There’s far more these applications can do to assist with data management though. Over time, your company has probably—or will, someday—go through multiple platforms. This means that going back and grabbing the data you need could involve more than one system. If you tried using the aforementioned workaround, you’d be in for a huge challenge. It would take multiple computers, each with a specific operating system and then going between them to get the information you need or cross reference it as necessary.Modern emulators can access as many terminals as you need all on the same computer. Usually, it just involves putting each one on separate tabs. Not only can you get all the info you need, then, you can do it from the screen all at once. This makes it extremely easy to cross reference data from one system against others.
Customize Your Queries Another great benefit that comes with terminal emulation is that you can actually customize your searches to various degrees. For many companies, accessing old data means looking at screens that represent the info in the most rudimentary of ways. There may only be a few colors used for fonts on a black screen. Obviously, this can make data management a bit of a challenge, to say the least.With the right software, though, you can control the font color, the character size, background and more. This makes it much easier to see the information you want, highlight it and otherwise keep track of the data. Never again suffer through old screens from outdated platforms when you need something.
Mobile Functionality
Like just about everything these days, terminal emulators have now gone mobile. You can now pull off emulation from just about anywhere in the world on your mobile device. This is a great way to make emulation possible for any work at home employees who may be working for your company. If you hire on a consultant or freelance professional from somewhere outside the office, mobile functionality means they can now benefit from easy data management. Next time you’re on a business trip and need to access information from yesteryear, the ability to do so will be at your fingertips.

Mobile functionality may not seem like the most important aspect to have as far as emulation is concerned, but it’s better to have the option there than wish it was possible.
Save Money
Data management can be a costly endeavor. Unfortunately, it’s one of those costs your company really can’t hope to avoid. You need to manage your data, so you better find room in your budget. With terminal emulation, you can at least save money on this essential process.

Like we brought up earlier, without an emulator, you’re looking at a lot of hardware in order to make sure vital data is never out of reach, to say nothing of how inconvenient that option would be. You’re also looking at the potential costs of losing that data if anything happens to your dedicated machines. Furthermore, added hardware always comes with extra costs. There’s the space you need, electricity, IT support and more.

In light of those added expenses, simply using emulation software should be a no-brainer. You don’t need any extra hardware and these platforms are designed to stay out of the way until you need them, so they won’t hurt your staff’s ability to use their current machines.
Limitless Scalability
No matter what kind of software we’re talking about, scalability always needs to be a concern. Today, your company may only have so much data to manage. A year from now, though, there’s going to be a lot more. Five years from now, your company’s collection of data will be expansive.Obviously, managing this data efficiently is going to take a resource that can scale without difficulty. Keep in mind that a lot of companies increase their amount of data exponentially. This means scalability is necessary, but so is being able to scale at a moment’s notice to whatever size is needed.Terminal emulation and scalability are virtually inseparable when you have the right software. No alternative solution is going to be able to keep up. Again, if you tried using hardware to manage your data, you can forget about easy scalability and forget about doing so without spending a lot of money in the process.

Data management needs to be a priority for every organization, no matter what industry they’re in. However, simple data management isn’t enough anymore. Instead, you need emulation software that will make it easy, cost-effective and scalable. Otherwise, your business will always be greatly limited in what information it can access and the benefits that could be derived from it.

Mike Miranda writes about enterprise software and covers products offered by software companies like Rocket software about topics such as Terminal emulation,  Enterprise Mobility and more.
Categories: DBA Blogs

The Importance of Data Virtualization

Fri, 2015-09-04 11:37
It’s been a long time since the way data was stored and accessed has been addressed. We went from scrolls to books to mainframes and this last method hasn’t budged all that much over the last decade or so. This is despite the fact that we keep creating more and more information, which means that better ways for storing and finding it would make a world of difference. Fortunately, this is where data virtualization comes into play. If your company isn’t currently using this type of software, you’re missing out on a better way of leveraging your organization’s data.

Problems with Traditional Methods

No matter what line of work you’re in, your company is creating all kinds of information each and every business day. We’re not just talking about copy for your website or advertising materials either. Information is created with each and every transaction and just about any time you interact with a customer.

You’re also not just creating information in these moments. You need to access stored data too. If you don’t do this well—and many, many companies don’t—you’re going to end up with a lot of unnecessary problems. Of course, you’re also wasting a lot of money on all that info you’re creating but not using.

The main problem with traditional methods of data storage and retrieval is that they rely on movement and replication processes and intermediary servers and connectors for integrating via a point-to-point system. This worked for a long time. For a few companies, it may seem like it’s still working to some degree.

However, there’s a high cost to this kind of data movement process. If you’re still trying to shoulder it, chances are your overhead looks a lot worse than competitors that have moved on.That’s not the only problem worth addressing, though. There’s also the huge growth of data that’s continuing to head north. We’ve touched on this, but the problem is so prevalent that there’s a term for it throughout every industry: Big Data. Obviously, it refers to the fact that there is just so much information out there, but the fact this term exists also shows how much it affects all kinds of companies.

Big Data is also a statement about its creation. Its sheer proliferation is massive. Every year, the amount increases at an exponential rate. There’s just no way the old methods for storing and finding it will work.

Finally, customers expect that you’ll be able to find whatever information you need to meet their demands. Whether it’s actual information they want from you or it’s just information you need to carry out their transaction, most won’t understand why this isn’t possible. After all, they use Google and other search engines every day. If those platforms can find just about anything for free, why can’t your company do the same?

The Solution Is Data Virtualization

If all of the above sounded a bit grim, don’t worry. There’s a very simple solution waiting for you in data virtualization. This type of software overcomes the challenges that come with your data being stored all over your enterprise. You never again have to run a million different searches to collect it all or come up with some halfway decent workaround. Finally, there’s a type of platform made specifically for your company’s data gathering needs.This software isn’t just effective. It’s convenient too. You work through one, single interface and can have access to the entirety of your company’s data store. What it does is effectively separate the external interface from the implementation going on inside.

How It Works

Every data virtualization platform is going to have its own way of working, so it’s definitely worth researching this before putting your money behind any piece of software. However, the basic idea remains the same across most titles. With virtualization software, the data doesn’t have to be physically moved because this technology uses meta data to create a virtual perspective of the sources you need to get to. Doing so provides a faster and much more agile way of getting to and combining data from all the different sources available:·      Distributed ·      Mainframe ·      Cloud·      Big DataAs you can probably tell, this makes it much easier to get your hands on important information than the way you’re currently doing it.

Finding the Right Title for Your Company

Although they all serve the same purpose and the vast majority will follow the outline we just went through, there are still enough virtualization software titles out there that it’s worth thinking about what your best option will look like. As with any type of software, you don’t want to invest your money anywhere it’s not going to do the most good.The good news is that this software has been around long enough that there have been best practices established for how it should work. First, you want to look for a title that will actually transform the way your mainframe works by leveraging what it can do for every search. This is just a good use of your resources and gives you more bang for your buck as far as your mainframe is concerned. Software that uses it for virtualization purposes is going to work even better than a distribution-based application and won’t cost any more.

However, it’s also going to work a lot better for that price too. A lot of companies also love that this way of carrying out a search is more secure as well. The last thing you want is to pay for a piece of software that’s actually going to leave you worse off.

Secondly, although this may sound complex, you can and should find a solution that keeps things simple. Data integration can be straightforward with the method we just described without any need for redundant processes that would slow down your ability to scale up.

With data virtualization, there is no downside. Furthermore, it’s becoming more and more of a necessity. Companies are going to have to invest in this software as Big Data continues to get bigger.

Mike Miranda writes about enterprise software and covers products offered by software companies like Rocket Software.about topics such as Terminal Emulation, Legacy Modernization, Enterprise Search, Big Data and Enterprise Mobility.

Categories: DBA Blogs

Don’t Settle When It Comes to Enterprise Search Platforms

Fri, 2015-09-04 11:32
No company should try to operate for very long without an enterprise search platform. With so many options out there, though, you could be confused about which one is worth a spot in your organization’s budget. Let’s look at two very common workarounds some have tried, and then we will talk about why you must go with a reputable developer when you make your final decision.
Leveraging Web Search Engines
One way a lot of companies have handled their need for an enterprise search platform is to simply use one like Google or some other web engine. On paper, this may seem to make a lot of sense. After all, who doesn’t trust Google? Most of us use it every single day and would be lost without the search engine giant. If you can leverage its power for your company’s needs, that would seem like a no-brainer, right?
Unfortunately, if you try this, you’ll learn the hard way that Google leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to this type of an environment. That’s not to say it won’t work; it just won’t work well and definitely not nearly as well as you want for a search engine working your company’s internal systems. Google and other web search engines are fantastic at what they’re designed to do. They are not designed to work in an enterprise search environment though. For that, you need a true enterprise search platform.

The major problem is that web search engines are all about sheer volume, which makes a lot of sense once you think about it. When you want to find a pizza parlor in your city, you want to know about every single option and then some. Google’s ability to harvest this much information and present it quickly is one of the reasons it’s so popular. Any search engine that can’t deliver this kind of volume is going to alienate users and soon be left on the scrap heap.

What web search engines like Google don’t do well, though, is carry out deep, detail-oriented searches. Again, this makes sense. Google is driven largely by keywords and backlinks. These are “surface searches” that weren’t created to do some of the tasks you need an enterprise search platform form.

Your employees may do some very simple searches, but they probably also have some pretty demanding queries too. Enterprise search platforms are designed to handle these types of searches and drill down to the last detail in any file or piece of data they come across. If your employees aren’t able to do these types of searches on a regular basis, the search software you invested in will be a waste of money. Worse, it could land you with all kinds of other problems because your people will think they’re doing the best possible search they can and concluding that what they want can’t be found.

Also, don’t forget that your company stores information in different places. Yes, it may all be on the same server, but in the digital world, there are various “silos” that hold onto information. Each silo is its own environment with its own rules. When you try using a web search engine to look through all your company’s silos, what will most likely happen is that it will have to go through one at a time. This is far from ideal, to say the least.

If you have a good number of silos, your employees will most likely give up. They won’t want to walk the search engine from one silo to the next like they’re holding onto the leash of a bloodhound. The whole point of a search engine is that it’s supposed to cut down on the exhaustive amount of “manual” work you’d otherwise have to do to find the data you need.

Silos aren’t all the same, so you want a search program that can go in and out of the type you have without requiring the employee to reconfigure their query.

Open Source Software

Another very popular method of acquiring enterprise search software is to go with an open source title. Once again, on paper, this seems like a very logical route to take. For one thing, the software is free. You can’t beat that price, especially when it comes to an enterprise-level platform. This usually seems like an unbeatable value for small- and medium-sized businesses that don’t have a lot of leeway where their budget is concerned.

That’s just one benefit that proponents of open source search engines tout though. There’s also the fact that you can modify the software as you see fit. This gives the user the ability to basically mold the code into a result that will fit their company’s needs like a glove.

There are a couple problems though. The first is that you get what you pay for. If your open source software doesn’t deliver, you have no one to complain to. You can always do your research to find a title that others have given positive reviews to. At the end of the day, though, don’t expect much in the way of support. There are plenty of forums to go through to find free advice, but that’s not the type of thing most professionals want to wade through.

When you go with a true, professional version, your employees will never be far from help if something goes wrong. Most companies these days have email and phone lines you can use, but many also have chat boxes you can open up on their website. None of these will be available for your company if you go with open source software.

Also, you can definitely modify the search engine software, but this isn’t necessarily unique to open-source platforms. Professional search platforms can be modified a number of ways, allowing the user to streamline their software and fine-tune the result so they get relevant results again and again.This type of architecture, known as a pipeline, is becoming more and more the standard in this industry. Enterprise platforms come with all kinds of different search features, but that can also be a problem if they start getting in the way of one another. To ensure there are never too many cooks in the kitchen, pipeline architecture is used to line them all up, one in front of the other. By doing so, you’ll have a much easier time getting the search results you want, especially because you can just reconfigure these features as you see fit whenever you like.

Ongoing Updates Are Yours

One very important aspect of professional enterprise search platforms that is worth pointing out is that most developers are constantly putting out updates for their product. This is the same thing web search engines do, of course. Google, Yahoo and Bing all release upgrades constantly. The difference, however, is that enterprise platforms get upgrades that are specific to their purposes. While there are updates for open source software, expect sporadic results. The developer of your favourite title could give up and go on to another project, leaving you to look for someone else to continue creating great updates.

If you have a skilled developer who is familiar with open source search engines on your team, this may be an attractive option. Still, most will find this route is just too risky. Most of us also don’t have that kind of developer on staff and it wouldn’t be worth it to hire someone on specifically for this reason (it’d be much more affordable to just buy professional software). Also, remember that, even if you do have this kind of talent within your ranks, you’ll soon become completely beholden to them if you start trusting them with this kind of job. Having someone who is completely responsible for your search engine being able to work and not having someone else on staff who can offer support or replace them is not a good idea.

Scalability Is a Given
Every company understands how important scalability is. This is especially true when it comes to software though. The scalability of a program can really make or break its value. Either it will turn into a costly mistake that greatly holds your business back or it will become the type of agile asset you actually take for granted, it’s so helpful.

Open source platforms are only as scalable as their code allows, so if the person who first made it didn’t have your company’s needs in mind, you’ll be in trouble. Even if they did, you could run into a problem where you find out that scaling up actually reveals some issues you hadn’t encountered before. This is the exact kind of event you want to avoid at all costs.

Now that you realize the importance of going with a reputable developer, your next step is picking which one to choose. You definitely won’t lack for options these days, so just take your time to ensure you go with the best one for your business.
Mike Miranda writes about enterprise software and covers products offered by software companies like about topics such as Terminal Emulation, Legacy Modernization, Enterprise Search, Big Data and Enterprise Mobility.
Categories: DBA Blogs